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Compelling content is at the heart of every successful marketing strategy today, the fuel for your Demand Generation engine. Learn how to create it and where to put it.

Compelling content is at the heart of every successful marketing strategy today, the fuel for your Demand Generation engine. Learn how to create it and where to put it.

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  • 1. Content Marketing 101 Guide
  • 2. Executive summary/ Report summary In an age where buyers are bombarded with advertising and sales propositions, traditional marketing techniques are being increasingly filtered out and cutting through the noise is hard to do. Buyers are more self-sufficient in searching out information through the channels they choose and they are more selective about the content they are willing to consume. Ultimately, content marketing is a sales tool designed to deliver better quality leads. The focus is on helping the customer to choose us, rather than pushing what we have to sell onto them. Organisational goals for content marketing Content marketing is a way to connect with prospects and customers on their terms – we give them valuable information that helps to solve their current challenges, and in return they become more engaged and move deeper into the sales funnel. 78% Customer Acquistion 75% Engagement 71% Don’t just take our word for it; the 2013 ‘State of B2B Content Marketing in the UK report found that on average 29% of marketing budget is being spent on content marketing by B2B brands. Customer Retention/Loyalty 69% Lead Generation 63% Website Traffic 63% See the graph for why B2B marketers are turning to content marketing in 2013. Thought Leadership 54% Sales 38% Lead Management Buyers have changed the game and we have to respond. Brand Awareness 34% Need convincing? 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Source: Content Marketing Institute, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 benchmarks, budgets and trends – UK Share 70 80 90 100 2
  • 3. What is content marketing? Content is at the heart of driving audience engagement, interaction and leads. It is the medium through which we mix audience needs with supplier solutions to present value-added information for prospects and customers. What is content marketing? The strategic application of the right message and the right format at the right stage in the buyer journey E AG PA R OR M E TI C I PATI O PR N TE O Share IT S SS LO TY ANAL YS E YAL TI M N BLISH PU O BJEC VE CUSSION DIS DIENCE AU OM O The copy that goes into outbound marketing, emails, brochures etc An efficient use of budget for content creation by applying the same content to multiple stages of the buyer journey AGEMENT NG E A tactic to publish more content A strategy for communicating our messages in context of what the customer wants to hear CREATE What is it not? More content, costing more money Source: VC2+, 2013 Content marketing is not simply writing a company blog. It is a process and a strategy, beginning with understanding the audience, developing a catalogue of content that is relevant to them, delivering it in a form that it is appropriate and easy to digest, then making it easy to find. The aim is to remove barriers between target customers and the brand. The Content Marketing Institute (2013) describes content marketing as ‘non-interruption marketing’. Think of it as a new way of marketing; showing prospects and customers that we see the world through their eyes, we understand the challenges they face and we have the solution. 3
  • 4. Content Marketing and the Buyer Journey A meaningful content strategy should overlay onto a demand generation strategy in order to achieve real results that contribute to sales. A simple but effective way to segment content streams is to map it to the buyer journey. The aim of content marketing is to engage the audience and influence their progress to the next stage of the buying journey. Buyers will engage with different types and formats of content at varying stages in this journey. By understanding the stage they are at we can provide relevant, high-value content which further deepens engagement and generates better qualified, warm leads. The customer journey outlines the phases a buyer will take prior to sale. n  Typically in B2B environments this begins either by a brand suggesting the need for change or by the prospect having identified a business need, problem or potential improvement Resource Centre You may also enjoy reading: Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Marketing Automation 101 Guide n  The most compelling way to achieve ‘loosening of the status quo’ is to educate people on something they did not know about their business or their industry n  Content should then seek to progress buyers through subsequent stages towards sale n  average, B2B buyers are 67% through this On process before seeking interaction with a company Download > Share Download > 4
  • 5. Content Marketing and the Buyer Journey Summary Content considerations Loosening the status quo The potential buyer has a problem but is not yet entirely aware of what the problem is or how it could be resolved. Content is delivered to help the audience pinpoint their problems through being helpful and informative. Although branding is less important at this stage, content should aim to position the company as an industry thought leader. We want to drive the consumer to seek further information. Committing to change The potential buyer is accepting the need to resolve the problems that have been identified. At this stage the role of content is to offer relevant solutions to these problems. Done well, content can drive urgency and accelerate the buying process. The buyer is becoming aware of their options to solve the problem they face. They begin to evaluate their alternatives and are actively seeking information to find the best solution. The buyer is now being more proactive about finding information relevant to their problem. At this stage we want to be delivering content that helps the buyer to understand what they are seeking in a solution. Explain the exact requirements of the right solution and how will this address the various challenges they are currently faced with. Committing to a solution The buyer has become educated about their problem and the various solutions available and commits to taking action. As we learn more about the needs of this potential buyer, through analysing which content they consume, the content we provide can become increasingly specific to their requirements. At this point, we can begin to align our particular solutions and exemplify the superiority of our solutions in solving the buyer’s specific problem. Justifying the decision The buyer is now close to purchase, ensuring the solution they are deciding upon is the right one. The role of content is to now to remind the buyer why this purchase is a smart and valuable business decision. The buyer is now poised to purchase from our company. We now have a lot of information about this buyer and can utilise content to prove the value of our solutions and reassure them of their choice. Once the buyer has made a purchase, this is not the end of the content journey. To maximise the chance of repeat purchase, cross purchasing and recommending the company to others, a content strategy needs to continue post purchase. The role of content post purchase is aimed at adding value for the client, as well as recognising other problems they may face and beginning the journey again. Exploring possible solutions Exploring possible solutions Share 5
  • 6. What makes good content? Audience Who we are connecting to? Not only job title, but what challenges are they facing that we can help to solve? Share Content is only good if it’s consumed and it causes the target to take action. What makes the same piece of content interesting to one party and not to another is subjective, but here are a few guidelines for giving our content a chance to engage the right targets: Format What type of content will our audience want to consume? Busy CIOs will prefer bite-size video and blogs than a technical whitepaper which the network admin will love! Timing Reach the prospect at the right point in their buyer journey, or help them to begin a buying journey and we invite them to want more.  Originality Check the competition – our targets won’t consume something they already know. Consequence So what? Does your content add anything to our target’s life? Is it of real consequence to them, or is it content we want them to consume? Relevance Just because we want to say it, doesn’t mean our target wants to hear it. Resist the urge to ‘sell’ in value-added content.  Interesting If your wife, or your colleague consumed your content, would they learn something new? If you can tell people something interesting, they will come back for more. 6
  • 7. Identifying the right content format Match the right content to your audience’s needs to drive engagement. Consider too the full range of content formats to keep your prospect or target interested – test new formats to learn what drives engagement and clicks, then build it in to programmes. The most commonly used content formats in B2B marketing are shown below. Content with the best ROI according to marketing professionals Worlwide, Jan 2013 Featured Articles 62.2% Video 51.9% 45.6% White Papers 37.8% Photos Interactive Media 60 eMarketer report on content with the best ROI by CopyPress, January 2013 Games Podcasts V. Conferences Licensed Content Ebboks Books Print News Letters Digital Magazines Annual Reports Mobile Apps Webinar/Webcasts Mobile Content Print magazines Infographics Branded Content Tools Microsites White Papers Research Reports Viseos Articles on other Websites In-person Events Blogs Case Studies eNewsletters 17.0% 20 Social Media – Other than blogs 40 27.9% Motion Graphics 11.3% Share 80 Articles on your website 29.7% Buyers guides 21.6% Illustrations 100 36.0% Sales Copy Infographics Content marketing usage in the UK (by tactic) Content Marketing Institute, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 benchmarks, budgets and trends – UK 7
  • 8. Content marketing for prospect acquisition Content is hugely influential in inbound marketing for adding fresh, self-selected contacts to your nurture database. They must be sufficiently motivated by your content to reveal their identity – below are tips for making content count. Branded or unbranded? Gated or ungated? Long or short? One click conversion or journey? If there is resistance or barriers to acceptance for your brand in the market, then consider keeping your content unbranded. Allow it instead to do its work in engaging consumers and enticing them to engage on their own terms. Include multiple pathways the user can take to encourage them to continue their journey towards your brand. Be selective about when to ask for a new target’s details. At the first clickthrough to your site, asking for a registration is likely to halt the journey there and then. Make an informed decision on how much dwell time and exploration you can allow on your web pages before presenting a registration page to access gated material. Both can work well to drive engagement. The main consideration is to keep the appeal of the content as broad as possible whilst keeping it relevant. Short content including blogs, video, images, cartoons and infographics is effective at attracting new users or driving early. Longer content, such as a definitive report, can increase dwell time on your site and it can drive conversion if the value of the content is deemed to be worth it. Our content is designed to drive sales, but the speed of engagement varies. Driving registrations with a single click, requires a ’honeypot’ approach where content looks attractive and unique. Once hooked, ensure visitors can access deeper content. Very specific content however for tightly defined, high value targets should not require more than one click to convert – if it’s designed for a specific segment, either they want it, or they don’t. Share 8
  • 9. Why are technology marketers turning to a content approach? Chief Technology and Information Officers are over-marketed to The technology industry is renowned for bombarding prospects with marketing and sales material. The people you’re trying to reach are tuning out. To cut through the noise, prospects need to be spoken to on their terms, not yours. It’s not always easy to identify the target audience Thanks to the complex distribution channels tech marketers face, it’s hard to identify a target audience, let alone reach them. The right content in the right places helps prospects to find you. Doesn’t that sound easier than pushing out generic sales materials for little return? The engagement level of audiences generated through content is higher, enhancing sales conversion rates. Share Better quality leads Enticing prospects to self-select their association with a brand helps to separate ‘tire kickers’ from real prospect customers; shortening the sale cycle. The added bonus is having the sales team love you for giving them better quality leads. It makes sense to talk to prospects in their language It enhances current marketing approaches Increases visibility and removes barriers to sale Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to throw all your current marketing efforts out the window. Content marketing is a strategy that enhances current sales and marketing efforts. You’d be surprised how much content you already have that can be repurposed and reallocated to the appropriate stage of the buyer journey. Content that is accessible and relevant to buyers in active buying stages creates a significant competitive advantage. Optimised content will enhance search visibility and quality, making you easier to find and providing access to fresh audiences. As marketers, we love our brands. We love talking about our brands. Opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell Is telling a prospect how wonderful our brand is useful to them? Probably not. They are more interested in learning about, and finding solutions to, their problems. A customer-centric approach to marketing puts every piece of information and how it is delivered to audiences in the context of a journey; making it more relevant to more people, more of the time. Make your marketing budget go further! The right content can be applied to customer communications to show them what else you have to offer and influence brand perceptions. Continuing post-sale dialogue with customers adds value, reminds them why they chose the brand and presents opportunities for even more sales. 9
  • 10. Best practice in content marketing 12345678 Know your audience Know their needs and how they want to consume content. Share Make it relevant to the audience and their stage in the buying journey. Understand the importance of tone and format: good content involves more than just the message. Be consistent don’t send mixed messages. Do use content to enhance brand values. Make it interactive allowing the audience to respond to content drives deeper engagement. Accessibility ensure your content can be found easily, if online, make it prominent on your website, engage SEO techniques, and extend reach using social media. Give evidence Easily sharable don’t just provide broad sweeping statements, give the audience tangible examples to prove your message and bring it to life. ideally, content should be so engaging that people want to share it with others, so make it easy to do so. 10
  • 11. Resource Centre You may also enjoy reading: Download > Pulling Together Centralising your marketing Content and Inbound Marketing infographic Download > Download > Buyer Journey Cheatsheet Download > About Ledger Bennett DGA www.lbDGa.com Telephone: +44 (0)8458 383883 Email: info@LBDGA.com Milton Keynes: Ledger Bennett DGA Tungsten House, Warren Road Little Horwood, Milton Keynes MK17 0NR London: Share Ledger Bennett DGA 1st Floor Centric House 390-391 Strand, London WC2R 0LT We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses sales and marketing know-how to help customers increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing and Marketing Automation strategies. Our highly focused Demand Generation programmes drive our customers’ business performance, helping them to: n Generate more opportunity n Convert that opportunity into sales n Retain customers and grow their value Using more measurable and cost effective techniques than traditional full service marketing agencies we are able to maximise business revenue in the modern world where the internet has fundamentally changed the behaviour of the buyer.